Summer days on Neff Road. A time of creativity. There was no boredom. We were surrounded by things to do. My sister June and I started talking about all of the things we played during the summer. The list grew and grew. One thought triggered another. Perhaps you might be reminded of the wonderful times you had growing up. My time was on Neff Road.
The list of games changed as we grew older. Little ones play Button, Button, Who’s got the Button. London Bridge, Farmer in the Dell and Duck, Duck, Goose. We chased each other when we got older playing Kick the Can, Tag, Freeze tag, Hide n’ Seek. We bossed each other by playing Red Rover, Red Light/Green Light and Mother May I. We ran around the yard chasing lighting bugs. And loved playing baseball when enough of us played together. Games that had been handed down from generations before were still fun to play in the 1950s.
School aged girls loved to jump rope and play Hop Scotch. At camp, we learned to play Tether Ball and Four Square. Of course, camp always meant a swimming pool and Scavenger Hunts. Kids that were strangers soon became friends. Unless you belonged to the Loxley family where none of us stayed longer than a day because we were homesick. Argh!
Even though the Stager house is gone, I can take you to the exact spot where Brenda and I played Marbles and Jacks. We sat in that hot driveway totally immune to the heat. We rode our trikes on gravel driveways and pulled our dolls, kittens and anything else we could find in our wagons. You could spin a top on their cement drive way or bounce a ball. At our house we made a playhouse in the corn crib and tunnels in the barn. A swing hung in the tree. And, on hot days, we sat in the horse trough to cool off. We didn’t go to the house for drink of water. Nope, we just drank from the hose. When it rained, we dashed to get our bathing suits. They were good days to be a farm kid.
Not always was the play safe. I remember well Dad teaching me to play Mumbley Peg with a pocket knife. A bow made from a willow branch and string with arrows of sharpened sticks. A fishing pole made of stick, string and a clothespin. Target shooting with a BB Gun. Our parents did not always know where we were or what we were playing. Somehow we did survive.
A bit folded paper, a straight pin and a pencil and you had a pinwheel. A playing card, a clothes pin and a bike. and you had a cool means of transportation. A couple of buttons and a string, and you could create a whirring sounding toy. With a piece of string, you could make a Cat’s Cradle. Yes, life was simple and so was our entertainment.
Perhaps one of the best things to do in the summer was to watch the animals on the farm. I spent quite a bit of time talking to my horse and sitting atop the gate watching the cows. Or sitting in the field with Brenda watching a cow give birth. The little peeps that came to live with us grew into the chickens we hypnotized. I loved holding the babies bunnies and watching the baby lambs. Kids who grow up not living around these wonderful animals have no idea the education we received and the fun we had just living within a few feet of our animal friends.
I do not know how many hours during the summer that Brenda and I searched for baby kittens. We cuddled them. Put them in baby carriages and tried to sneak them into the house. Brenda had her dog Judy, and I had Whitey. We were never without pets. The farm was our adventure. We hiked the land, we played at the bridge, we visited neighbors and had a freedom that only kids like us could understand. It was the 1950s, and we were blessed to live on farms on Neff Road.